Education

Fact Check: Oklahoma Pre-K Teacher Did NOT Tell 4-year-old Writing Left-Handed Is 'Evil'

  • by: Alan Duke

When an Oklahoma mom asked her 4-year-old why he was writing with his right hand, she said she was shocked when he said his pre-K teacher told him writing with his left hand is "bad," according to a story on Oklahoma City's KFOR-TV.

READ THIS UPDATE: Reporter Backs Off Saying Pre-K Teacher Called Left-Handed Boy 'Evil' -- But Teacher Quits Amid Social Media Outrage

But there is a problem with the sensational report titled "Oklahoma Pre-K teacher allegedly calls being left-handed 'evil' and 'sinister.'" While the story said the teacher sent a note home describing "how left-handedness is often associated with evil and the devil," the "evil" and "sinister" words accredited to the teacher were actually in a professional article published by pediatricians at University of Iowa's Children's Hospital.

KFOR-TV reporter Abby Boyles confirmed to Lead Stories that all the mother received was a printout of the online article intended to help parents and teachers identify which hand a child should use. The teacher sent the article -- "When Will I Know Which Hand She Will Use?" -- to Sands in response to her question about why her son, who she thought was left-handed, was writing with his right hand.

Along with insight into at what age a child chooses a side is a paragraph of the history of the anti-lefthanded sentiment, useful information you might find in a wikipedia search:

"In many western cultures, right-handedness was/is considered the 'correct' or 'right' hand to use, and left-handedness was unlucky, inauspicious or frankly evil. The word "sinister," meaning left-sided, derives from various sources as early as the 15th century. There are numerous instances of left-handedness being associated with wickedness. For example, the devil is often portrayed as left-handed, and people throw salt over their left shoulder to ward off the evil spirits that dwell there."

Click here to read the full article about left-handed kids that upset the mother.

The teacher's note only said "'thanks for your input," and added that she only teaches right-hand writing, according to Boyles, who saw the note. Nothing about "evil" or "sinister" was written by either of the teacher's hands.

Sands, who is left-handed, said she based her suspicions about the teacher's anti-left prejudice on the words of her young son in response to what might be described as her leading question.

"I just asked 'Is there anything his teachers ever asked about his hands?' And he raises this one and says this one's bad," Sands said.

The mother said nothing was done when she showed the article to the school superintendent over Oakes Elementary in Okemah, Oklahoma. "There was no suspension of any kind. There was basically nothing done to this teacher. She told them she thought I needed literature on it."

Zayde will be transferred to a new teacher and new classroom at Sands request. She also plans to file a formal complaint with the Oklahoma Board of Education.

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